I have never for one minute, believed that Foster Carers are anything other that good people with the best of intentions. Over the years I have helped many people fight against Social Services for children in their care, whether Parents or Foster Carers. I have also helped many Care Alumni for years. In general, I can’t say anything bad about Foster Carers. I’ve met a few bad ones, but that is to be expected in any group.
I can, however, say very bad things about Foster “Care”, and have done so for years. I also wish for people to note that there should be no stigma attached to children who have suffered “Care”. The children cannot be responsible for the unfortunate circumstances they had no control over.
The Best of Intentions don’t translate very well into the Best Outcomes for Children. If a child is removed from parents on the basis of “Future Risk of Emotional Abuse”, that the child will have a poor Outcome in Life with their parents, then there must be an absolute expectation that the child will have a far more positive Outcome, given they were removed with the purpose of having a better life in “Care”. The problem is that children have far worse outcomes as a direct result of “Care” in 80% of cases. The following is from the UK DfE.
The scientific evidence that “Care” is bad for children is very compelling.
- According to an exhaustive study by Professor Joseph Doyle at MIT, and Economics Professor, 80% of “Care” Alumni have dismal Outcomes even compared to offspring of the Foster Carers themselves when raised in the same home. His study tracked 12,000 “Care” Alumni over a 15 year period. A more recent study had equally poor Outcomes.
- A study found that 25% of “Care” Alumni were twice as likely to suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder than Soldiers returning from War Zones, and in the order of 4 times more severe.
- A study found that the Health Outcomes for “Cared For” and later in life, had far more illnesses and poorer Health Outcomes.
- The Suicide Rate of children in Irish State “Care” is almost 10 times the National Average according to a 2011 University study.
- Even Social Workers themselves view “Care” Alumni as a greater risk to their own children and a study found that any girl who spent any significant amount of time in “Care” is 66 times more likely to have her child removed and placed in “Care”. An Irish Judge termed this “Inter-generational Recidivism” when removing a child from a mother, a mother that he himself had removed from her mother. Girls in “Care” are twice as likely to become pregnant.
- A study from 2000 showed that most of the homeless youth on the streets in Ireland came from the “Care” System. Many of these children are dumped on the streets by their Foster Carers who receive €340 per week, per child, or Residential Care Facilities who receive €5,000 per week, per child. The State has no obligation to adults, many of whom have not even completed school at the time of their “Emancipation”.
- At €5,000 per week, per child, the quality of “Care” should be to such a standard that parents are begging to get their child taken into the system, instead, children are begging to go home to their parents.
- One of the most compelling speeches ever given on the topic was by a Social Worker, Molly McGrath Tierney at a TED Talk.
Make no mistake about it, when social workers show up at your home, the child they are bringing has just been dragged kicking and screaming from their parents. They only thing they want is to go home. Either that or the unfortunate child was taken from another Foster Carer and it’s not unusual for a child to have 20 placements, all of which have failed.
If you set out tomorrow to design a system to systematically harm children, you couldn’t do any better than the current model of “Care”. Yes, Foster Carers are nice people with the best intentions, but “Best Intentions” don’t translate very well into “Best Outcomes”. I have often said that for €5,000 per week, the child I would look after would graduate from Harvard or Oxford, this is an obscene amount of money, but bear in mind, that these Private companies used to be paid €8,500 per week, per child, for what one operator described as a “Babysitting Service”. I would probably have enough money left to pay for the child’s wedding and buy them a house.
Yes, there are some children in absolute need of protection, but Foster “Care” does not come up to the standard required to meet the needs of these children, it’s simply not good enough. I would also have grave concerns about Social Workers trying to determine which children are in need of protection, the vast majority of children are in “Care” on the basis of Future Risk of Emotional Abuse, the theory that they “may” have a poor outcome in life, and then guaranteed a dismal outcome by being placed in “Care”.
I had a conversation one day with a Foster Carer. She told me that the parents of “Her” children were absolute monsters. They had allegedly done things to these children that I cannot mention here. She was complaining that it was her duty to bring the children to the parents every week for “Contact”, a task she hated. I asked her where she got this information from, bearing in mind that it would be illegal for the Social Worker to share with her any details of how these children came to be in “Care”. Her only source was her social worker, who made it seem to her that she was doing a heroic act saving these children from bad parents. I then asked her why these parents were not in prison if they had done a fraction of what they were accused of? Months later “Her” children were returned to their parents. I heard she gave up Fostering.
Prepare to be lied to. When you ask for help for the child you care for, it will not be forthcoming. My colleagues and I have been contacted by Foster Carers in the past for help. Although they desperately want to avail of services, none are available. Foster Carers are not Psychologists and poorly equipped and supported to meet the needs of many of these children. This is the primary reason Foster “Care” doesn’t work. Children are suffering grief from the “Living Bereavement” of their parents. They suffer PTSD, which I have personally witnessed in many children, many of whom are now adults.
In one case where 2 children were kidnapped by the Irish Child and Family Agency, I witnessed the PTSD first-hand. I use the term “Kidnapped”, as this is the very term used by a Supreme Court Judge to describe the case. One child was 6 months when kidnapped and returned 8 months later. For 2 years after, he suffered nightmares and would wake up screaming almost every night. It wasn’t until he was 3 years old that he could verbalize his experience. He said that “1 mommy had no boobies”. He was being breastfed up to the kidnapping and not weaned off the breast. He was afraid that the mommy with “no boobies” would take him away. It was later discovered in therapy that his 6-year-old brother tried to commit suicide while in “Care” but didn’t know how to. I’m sure the Foster Carer provided excellent care to these children and did her best, but no Foster Carer is trained or equipped to give the children the help they need.
The children were returned 8 months after the kidnapping when the entire case had been re-heard by a new Judge despite the CFA requesting a Full Care Order. The parents successfully sued the State and won despite the State spending over a million to prevent Justice. The case is not published so the public will never know the full truth of what happened to this family. In fact, none of these cases are published and the true story of what is actually happening to children is not known, except for a few stories and pages such as this. We occasionally see the mask slipping on what passes for Child “Protection” but the Public has no knowledge of how damaging this system, and Foster “Care” is to children.
For 11 years now I have been speaking and writing about this. I am gagged as to what I can tell you. Unlike many proponents of this system, I have been in the Secret Courts, I know the people involved, the parents and their children, many of whom are now being raised by their parents due to the efforts of my colleagues. I wrote a book on the topic. I cannot stress deeply enough, how bad “Care” is for children and if you reviewed the evidence I have provided above, I cannot see how anyone would want to be a party to destroying the lives of children even if it is done with the best of intentions.
I will leave you with one final thought. Last week, a child died in Irish State “Care”, another is due to die next week.